Saturday, August 18, 2007

Flying Will Never Be The Same!

Virgin America, the American incarnation of Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic (award-winning, and actually profitable, airline), rolled out service here in the US last week. The new airline, based out of San Francisco, promises a flying experience that is...well...different. There's really no other way to describe it, to be quite honest!

I spent some time at their website, exploring the VA Difference, and I have to say, for all intents and purposes, it's quite different! It's a cross between the interior of a Mercedes-Benz S-class, a super-stretch limosine (read "mood lighting"-I'm not kidding you), an Apple store, trendy salon, chic upscale juice bar (yeah, they've got a mini-bar), a masseuse, and the flight-deck of some futuristic spaceship that you'd see on Star Wars. As Boing Boing, tech blogger puts it in a recent blog post (she was invited to fly on the inaguraul flight), the "cabin interior feels like a big happy iPod." And, to see the pictures, I've got to agree.

The interesting thing is their pricing. One would expect the Virgin Atlantic experience to be to flying as the iPhone is to mobile phones (that is, overpriced, yet still enormously in demand). I did a quick search. I submitted a test itinerary to both VA and AA for a trip from San Francisco to New York City (round trip), departing September 19 (my birthday folks; an excellent time to make good use of my Amazon Wishlist), and returning exactly one week later. The prices were exactly the same! $258, round-trip! Amazing!

My prediction is that, assuming Virgin America can stay on schedule (without the embarrassing technical hiccups experienced recently by so many other major airlines), and assuming they can keep their pricing reasonably competitive, they'll emerge as the leading domestic airline here in the US. Keep an eye on them!

9 comments:

SheGazelle said...

Wow...looks like a great gig they've got going! I took a look at the site- the prices are terrific bargains. If only they would promise me one thing that no airline has offered to date: LEG ROOM IN COACH CLASS!!

deanna eccles said...

Looks like a pretty nice airlines. Too bad I never have any need to fly to or from any of the places they offer. Oh well, maybe someday.

PJ said...

Do gazelles have long legs?

SheGazelle said...

In this case, yes. But your average coach class seat hasn't enough leg room for a squirrel.

Katie Booker said...

Shegazelle,
You need to have kiddos so that you can board the plane first. When you do that you can snag the bulkhead...that is the best seat in the house! Plenty of legroom...even for my honey with long legs!!!
See there are benefits of kids =)

SheGazelle said...

What a horrid thing to do for prime seating! =-O

PJ said...

Yeah, I've got to admit, that seems a little extreme. I can tell you from experience that it'd be FAR cheaper to simply buy first class every time you fly, than it would be to have "kiddos"!

Katie Booker said...

HAHAHAHA!!! Well it IS cheaper to fly without kiddos, seeing I just packed up the kids last night and hopped on XJET this morning to come to Fresno for a surprise visit!!!
Although I do have to say that it is fairly cheap to fly with them!!!

Ogre said...

Sorry Katie i would have to agree with Pj on this one. First class anywhere in the world multiple times would be cheaper in the long run.


Shegazelle stick with first class its cheaper over time.